I didn't grow up with Pluck but I've heard about him for years from my husband. Pluck is a character in the beloved Dutch children's book Tow Truck Pluck (Pluck van de Petteflet) by Annie M.G. Schmidt. We had no idea it had been translated into English so when Mr.B saw it in a bookstore on a recent trip to the Netherlands, he didn't hesitate to buy it for our boys. Now he's having fun reading it out loud and I guess reliving the memories of reading Pluck as a youngster. Mr.B says it's an excellent translation so I'll take his word for it.
Pluk, a little boy, drives a small red crane truck through the city. He has no parents and is looking for a new place to live. On the way, he meets all sorts of interesting people and animals and one day he arrives at the 'Petteflet' a high rise that's soon to be his new home. Pluck's adventures are so much fun and it's no surprise that Annie M.G. Schmidt is considered to be the 'real queen of the Netherlands.' She is much loved in her home country. The fun and cute illustrations are by Fiep Westendorp.
Here's an excerpt from the first chapter:
Pluck had a little red tow truck. He drove it all over town looking for somewhere to live. Now and then he stopped. And when he stopped, he asked people, 'Do you know anywhere I can live?' The people thought for a moment and then said, 'No." Because all the houses were taken.
In the end Pluck drove into the park. He backed his truck in between two trees and sat down on a bench.
'Maybe I can sleep here in the park tonight,' he said out loud. 'I could sleep in my truck under that tree..' Then he heard a voice above him. 'I know where you can live,' the voice said.
Pluck looked up. There was a beautiful, fat pigeon sitting on one of the branches of the big oak tree.
'The tower of the Pill Building's free,' the pigeon said.
'Thanks,' Pluck said, taking off his cap. 'Where is the Pill Building? And what's your name?'
'I'm, Dolly,' the pigeon said. 'And the Pill Building's close by. That great big building over there...See? Right up on top, there's a little tower. And in that tower, there's a room. And no one lives in it. If you're fast, you can move into that room. But don't waste any time, otherwise it might be taken.'
Dutch Lit Month is hosted by Iris at Iris on Books. Do check out her blog for more Dutch Lit reviews this month.